RAYNERS LANE 1 HARROW BORO 1 (Rayners Lane won 4-3 on penalties)
It’ll be another season without silverware for Harrow following a very poor showing against their Spartan South Midlands Division One opponents.
After much huff and puff, to little effect, they finally took the lead with eleven minutes to go, only to allow Lane to level, and then threw away what was an early advantage in the penalty shoot-out.
With Sahr Kabba having departed and Anthony O’Connor suspended following a red card for dual registration club Hanwell Town, Kyle Beggs started up-front alongside Ryan Moss. Beggs had given a good cameo in the recent London Senior Cup tie at Dulwich, but alas this was not a performance on the same level, though more experienced colleagues were also to be found lacking. There was at least a very welcome return for Adam Richards at the back, and for Mark McLeod in midfield.
Beggs netted early on when Richards headed on McLeod’s cross, but was offside. The hosts were looking lively on a bobbly pitch and Melvin Minter had to come off his line sharply to grab the ball off McColman’s toe, the Harrow keeper then saving a deflected shot from Zaheed. Lewis Cole’s shot from the edge of the box went wide of the mark, and Daley in the home goal made a good diving claim to stop Ryan Moss reaching Charles Banya’s cut-back. Lewis Cole’s effort then cannoned off a defender, and rebounded back off Cole and past the post. George Moore shot over at the far post at the end of a half in which Harrow had seen much of the ball but done very little with it.
It looked as if Borough might have received a half-time kick up the backside when the second half began, as they immediately went close twice, Lewis Cole’s shot blocked after good work by Banya, and Richards’s glancing header from Beggs’s free-kick going narrowly wide. But that lively start petered out, and Minter had to save from McKay, who was then the victim of a nasty-looking challenge by McLeod and was unable to continue. Zaheed then shrugged off Jonathan Bell and cut in from the right to whistle a left-foot shot narrowly past the far post.
This dull affair was heading for penalties when Harrow broke the deadlock in the 79th minute. Chinua Cole, Harrow’s best player on the night, cut in from the left and hit a right-foot shot narrowly wide, but he was tripped just before unloading his shot, and referee Mr Batten awarded a free-kick. George Moore stepped up to drill the ball low past Daley’s left hand.
Daley then made a wonderful twisting save to keep out Moss’s header, and that was to prove crucial. Bulky centre-back Payne had been sent upfield by the hosts, and in the 85th minute it took a great Chinua Cole tackle to stop him, but Cole’s defensive colleagues failed to clear their lines, and the ball was crossed again from the left and this time Payne fired home the equaliser.
Moss was in on goal but Daley saved at his feet, and two debutant substitutes, Tarun Dawkins and Ahmed El Sahib, both went close, but the scores remained level and the game went to penalties. Kurtis Cumberbatch and Moss scored Harrow’s first two, and when Delasalle hit the post with Lane’s second (Tesfu having scored their first), Harrow were in control. But Daley made a fine save from El Sahib, Lavender netted, and it was two-all after three. Lewis Cole and Pegrum scored so it was now, realistically, sudden death. Moore took the Harrow fifth with his usual power, but it was straight down the middle, and Daley saved. Minter hadn’t got near any of the first four Lane kicks and he didn’t get close to the fifth either, Zaheed netting to send them through amid jubilant scenes.
Harrow will need to show far greater application and ability as they seek to rack up the relatively small number of points they still need to ensure league survival, starting with Saturday’s trip to Leatherhead to play their tenants Kingstonian.
RAYNERS LANE: Luke Daley, Kildane Tesfu, Connor Maher (booked, 23 mins; sub Andy Ingram, 76 mins), Connor Bevan, Jordan Payne, Alex Patton, Saleeh Zaheed, Jamie McKay (sub Alex Delasalle, 59 mins), Sekhan McColman, Lewis Lavender, Luke Fox (sub Tom Pegrum, 68 mins).
HARROW BOROUGH: Melvin Minter, George Moore, Chinua Cole, Adam Richards (sub Ahmed El Sahib, 73 mins), Adam Pepera, Jonathan Bell, Charles Banya (sub Tarun Dawkins, 80 mins), Mark McLeod (sub Kurtis Cumberbatch, 73 mins), Ryan Moss, Kyle Beggs, Lewis Cole. Unused subs: Howard Hall, Favio Merchan Rodriguez.
Referee: Mr A Batten
by Simon Grigor
Middlesex Senior Charity Cup Second Round, Tuesday 20th March 2018